Thursday, January 31, 2008

Happy 3rd Birthday Jack!

We had a busy day with Jack today! Let’s take a look, shall we?

Mixing Batter for his Mickey Mouse Waffles (with butter, Peanut Butter, and syrup!)

Discovering the Present Frank and Mommy Sewed for Jack… a set of pennant flags.

Playing at Gymnastics, with Daddy in attendance for the first time.

At the local Community College’s Dinosaur Exhibit

Did you know that there are only eleven T-Rex’s on display in the world? Six of them are in the US.
We’ve been to two of them (we saw “Sue” in New Mexico, and now this one in Wyoming).
Perhaps we’ll have to make it a point to find and visit the other four... hmmm….

Exploring the vents behind the T-Rex,

and the power outlets in the floor beside the T-Rex.

Time for Cake!

This is the FIRST time I've EVER bought a cake instead of making it for a family birthday party! The boys enjoyed the treat of the store-bought cake.

I feel perhaps I should pause to say that I've been wearing that purple "birthday robe" every year since I was six or seven. (My Mom made me the cape for my Princess Halloween Costume that year. I still have the crown that she made (with lace, beads, and rhinestones) too.) I made all my family members (even my dad- begrudgingly) wear it on their birthday's too... at least while they endured hearing "Happy Birthday" being sung. My hubby rolls his eyes and grumbles about wearing it... quite like my dad use to, but, it's a tradition I created as a kid. I loved it then and I continue to love it. I recently (three years ago) added the crown which I made for Frank for a Mardi-Gras celebration. It's made of a file folder covered with aluminum foil (not exceptionally sturdy) so, again, it only comes out for the Happy Birthday Song. :D

Opening the last of the presents (all day long, I gave them to him presents all throughout the day).

Playing with the BINGO paint daubers from Auntie Lou after tracing a wooden dinosaur onto some new construction paper.

One of the few pictures Jack would pose for… he saw me taking a picture of his opened presents and jumped in front of the camera.

We love you Little Punk! Happy Birthday!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Custom Quilts... from CHINA?!?

Or at least I assume that's where they are made...

This morning I'm surfing around for something totally unrelated, and I stumble across... Personalized Heirloom Photo Quilts, FROM WAL-MART! You upload a central picture, plus eight more (which they choose how to arrange), send in $120, and in 7-10 days you have a baby/wall quilt.

Forgive my skeptisicm, but, how good can it really be?!

I'm almost tempted to order one, JUST to check out the quality... almost, but not quite.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

First Follow-Up Visit

After Tom’s first follow-up visit (side note: as I write this, I’m having de ja vu) to the Orthopedic Surgeon… I felt nauseous. I’ve never been one that handles damage to bodies well. Don't get me wrong, the functional body is amazing to me, but when it’s injured... I just don’t do well. Yes, I realize that an injured body, in the process of healing, is technically functional. I’ve always acknowledged that there are people out there (Aunt Theresa, Cousin Marie, Father-In-Law Russ, Friend Becky) who are fascinated by and work in the medical field, at I’m grateful to them! I’m just not one of them.

Upon seeing his surgical wound Tom said “it’s healing nicely.” Me? I saw it and hurriedly blocked the view from Frank and then ushered him out of the room. I did take a photo of the 7” incision, bruises, and twelve staples. If you’d like to see it, please contact me and I’ll send it to you… if you are one of those sick people who enjoy looking at such things! BLECH! :P

Gratefully, I’d brought the Leapsters for the boys, so, they were busy with them when the doctor uncovered Tom’s wound. I found Frank an out-of-the-way “fort” to wait in while we finished up with the doctor.

Jack could have cared less. He glanced at his Dad’s leg, then went back to the Clifford program he was working with. This was just what I expected from him and why I left him in the room.

I explained to Frank why I took him out (he’s been worried and having scary dreams), what Dad’s leg looked like, and that he could look if he wanted or avert his eyes, but that I was removing him from the room so he could decide. He choose to avert his eyes.

Now. As for Tom’s prognosis. The doctor wrote him a release for as soon as Tom felt he could be back to work… Monday, 4 February. The release carries these conditions:

  1. crutches required
  2. no weight bearing on right leg
  3. no driving

Tom’s boss has told him that Diebold will supplement Worker’s Comp payments so that we receive his regular salary. (YEAH!) They’ve also been working to bring a new-hire from the Salt Lake office to Wyoming (on a short-term basis). The new-hire would chauffeur Tom around while Tom provides on-the-job training. This was the boss’ plan within two hours of Tom’s injury. Now for the technicalities…

1. Although Tom has been on his own here in Rock Springs since September, he's still officially “in training” himself . His hire date was in April, so, I guess he’ll be “trained” on his anniversary, I don’t know. In any case, the company may not be “allowed” to let someone in training train a new-hire.

2. Once Tom goes off of Worker’s Comp and “back-to-work”, if he’s not ready, then it’s very hard to reverse the procedure.

3. Liability. If Tom were to slip on the ice – again, while still recovering from a work-related injury, the company could be in Bucco trouble.

So. What all this is sounding like (to me), is that they WANT Tom at work, even if in a training capacity… but, because of legal liability, they probably WON’T LET him come back until he’s given a full (walk on your own two legs, drive yourself) kind of release. Today the nurse told us "that for someone of his age" healing should take place in 6-8 weeks... healing that no longer requires crutches. Sounds like I'm in for a long-haul does of full-time hubby-around-the-house medicine! Doesn’t he look comfy here at the doctor’s today…

In this picture, you can see how far up his incision goes (what, about 1/3 of his calf?)

You can also see the afore-mentioned blue jeans (which I washed and am putting back into service while his leg's still in a support device). I really am kicking myself about the jeans! I wish I’d ask them to cut the outside… I SO could have repaired the outside seam. Do you think Worker’s Comp will be paying for new jeans and thermals? I wonder…

So. That’s the latest with Tom. Oh yeah, and, the Doctor wants him up and about… on his crutches. Doing things. Not “just lying in bed all day.” Because of this, Tom (with Frank’s help) made dinner tonight… ground beef tacos, rice, and corn. Very tasty and a nice break from the kitchen for me (though I vacuumed and took things down to the van during that time).


Monday, January 28, 2008

Life in Wyoming - Winter Weather Patterns

Here's the way I've noticed it goes:
  • Several Days of Cold with Slight Breezes, can be blue skys or gray and overcast. In the teens to twenties.
  • For one or two days it begins to "feel nice" warming up into the thirties, maybe even low forties.
  • Suddenly, the winds start, then, before you know it, the snow is blowing. It will snow for a few hours to several days.
  • Big, cold winds continue. Blowing the frozen snow all over the place.
  • Then, is settles down and you return to the top of the list.
In case you are wondering, scraping your windshields of blown snow and ice is FAR more difficult than scrapping freshly fallen snow. Also, you get tricked. You look outside and see no new snow, then get out to your vehicle and wind up being late because you've spent 10-20 futile minutes trying to scrape hardened ice off the windshields. Here's an example:

I SERIOUSLY spent 15 minutes scraping my window and THIS was all I could see through!
In the end, I took a longer (safer, ie: less traveled, fewer dangerous turns) route.
When I started going about 40 mph, the wind, and warmer engine blowing
on the window, cleared off the remaining particles...
it took about 10 minutes of driving to get to where I could actually see!

While we're on the subject of winter weather. We've noticed that life is much "slower" here. I think a big part of that is because of the weather. When there are several inches (feet) of snow, everyone and everything slows down. People are late or just don't go / show up places. Lots of things are canceled or postponed. Traffic slows down. And it's okay.

In Arizona, I don't really remember calling and saying "oh, there's a Heat Wave, so, we canceled _____" or "it's hot and humid, so, we won't be going out today". People complain about the heat, but you plan around it, you just don't cancel things (generally) because of it. And perhaps because it's so HOT, you RUSH more to get back to cool waters or, at least, air conditioning.

I've also noticed that people use and observe turn signals. It's a must! Or, you could easily find yourself rear-ended.

Quick starting and stopping? Better leave that for the warmer climates too... or you'll be slipping and sliding all over the place.

One more thing this all brings to mind. As a kid, I never understood why my Utah grandparents would come to visit and my Grandpa would slow down at EVERY Southern California intersection, especially frustrating to my teenage heart was WHY he would slow down for GREEN LIGHTS! Now, I get it. In the cold, icy, snowy weather, you approach most every intersection slowly. You just never know when another car will go careening across your path because they've turned, accelerated, or braked too quickly.

Basically, you go slower and easier, and, like I said, most everyone is okay with that.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Attitude Adjustment Necessary

Today, I need an attitude adjustment. I am allowing this thing with Tom to affect me. Of course it affects the way our home runs. I can handle that. I know I can handle it. But, even though I've spent the past two days catching up on sleep (and I know more-or-less feel rested), I continue to have a very short fuse and get cranky at everyone very easily.

Tonight, I will finish watching The Shawshank Redemption (which we started last night) and then go to bed. Tomorrow, I will spend some time sewing something (I don't know what yet). Cloth is calming for me.

I was knitting today. I've been working on a scarf. I've got the knit, increase, and decreases down. It's slow going though. I don't feel like I'm making progress on it. I decide today that I will likely be a utility knitter ... kind of like my crocheting ... I do them because I "need" the finished result, not because I enjoy the process. I do appreciate how portable both are though, for being able to do on the run. I actually only tend to knit when I'm out or when I'm on the phone, so, I am grateful to be getting something done during "dead" time. I enjoy quilting. I also enjoy painting watercolors. I suppose I could try to do that tomorrow, but, I can see it being a big fiasco with the boys wanting to participate and me wanting it to be an "alone, leave me alone, me" project. Better stick with sewing something for tomorrow and boosting my joyous spirits.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

ABC-Along 2008 - A

A is for Affirmations, Affections, Arizona, and A Mess!

Affirmations is the name of the wonderful fabric I scored a whole bolt of.

Affections, between all sorts of things, but this picture of our Mama Cat (the white flame-point Siamese) and her Nine-Month Old Daughter (the seal-point Siamese) seem to sum them up. They are always together!

Arizona, land that I love, here’s a picture of the quilt my Aunt made me “Road (Back) to Arizona”.

A Mess!”, is what we so often tell our boys they’ve made or how they respond when we say “What did you make?”


ABC-Along 2008

I recently joined a photography challenge being organized by Vicki of Knitorious. Basically, she's broken the year down into two week segments and assigned a letter of the alphabet to each. The assignment is to take a photo (or more) of something that represents each letter to you.

I've never taken part in anything like this before, but it seemed like it would be a fun thing to do, something to keep me thinking and maybe zip up my photography a bit (although I've just been looking through my recent photos for the first few posts, now that I'm involved, I anticipate looking through the camera with a "new eye".)

It should be fun to peek around at what others are posting too.

I posted a link (a bit of a challenge for me to sort out the html tags to make it work) on my sidebar, so, take a look at what others are doing.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Life in Wyoming - Our Small-Town Hospital Experiences

Tom's surgery went well. He now has a plate with seven bolts in his lower right leg bones.

Our family has been to the hospital in Lander once and the Rock Springs one three times. We went to the ER at each, plus registeration for Tom and his surgery.

All-in-all, we've been very pleasantly surprised. Here's how long each item took:
  • Aug 07 - Lander, ER - 55 minutes!!!
  • Oct 07 - RS, ER - 3 hours
  • Jan 08 - RS, Registration, Lab, X-Ray, with Tom on crutches/wheelchair - 2 hours.
  • Jan 08 - RS, Surgery - 5 hours, 40 minutes start to finish.
Each of these times we have felt we were served quickly and efficently... much quicker than we were used to in Phoenix. Today, we had two nurses with, shall we say, interesting bed-side manners, without dwelling on just what was so interesting, we have had SO MANY helpful, friendly, quick, efficent people! It's been the nicest surprise when we're feeling our worst.

Right now, everyone is very tired and cranky... it's been 47 hours 57 minutes since Tom fell and broke his leg. Now, it's time for ALL OF US to have a nice nap. Then perhaps cuddling and movies this evening.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

After A Visit to the Orthopedic Surgeon...

We have learned that Tom has (forgive my spelling, but the Doctor talks FAST and didn't want to write it down for me. :P):
  1. Distal Fibula Fracture
  2. Tailus Sublex Posterially
  3. Ankle Widening

Basically, both his lower leg bones (fibula and tibula) are broken and splaying over his ankle bone. The fibula has a sprial fracture almost three inches long.

Tomorrow, at nine in the morning, he's scheduled to have an ORIF Surgery (Open Reduction Internal Fixation)... Dr Ludwig F Kroner, III is going to open him up and put pins (and likely a plate) in, to pull it all back together.

I've determined just one more reason to be caught up on one's sleep... when an emergecny or other unforseen event pops us, as life is sure to cause from time-to-time, having proper rest is critical to maintiining a healthy, calm, reasonable disposition. I, however, have been short on sleep for quite a while now. I was actually to bed a little earlier the night before the accident, but now, I'm all off again.

Must go now, since I have to be up at 5:30, to have me out of the house by 6:30 (to warm the van in the -17F I saw this morning), to have everyone out by 7:00 to drop the boys off at a new friend's, to have Tom to the hospital by 7:30 for surgery around 9:00. Agh! I MUST HAVE REST!!! Goodnight!


PS: I was going to fix all my spelling / typos but decided to leave them so you can see how tired I am. :P

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Here is the last location that Tom's right fibula was a whole, complete bone. At 2:45 this afternoon he called me, sitting on the asphalt (right by the corner of the sidewalk you see in the lower right corner). He stepped off the curb onto that black ice and fell on his butt... which would have just made him sore... but his truck was parked about 18" away, and when his right foot hit the rear tire of his truck, he heard (and felt) two "POP!" sounds and knew he'd broken a bone.

He has a anterior spiral fracture of his right fibula. And his Levis' and thermal underwear and Nike socks were all cut up. I think of all of this, at the moment, I'm most put out about watching his nearly new jeans be cut up past his knee. I almost stopped them from cutting the inside (flat fold) seam and ask them to cut the outside (serged) seam... because it would have made for better scrap material that way! I bit my tounge, deciding the HALF A DOZEN medical personnel might have thought me a tad insensitive if I'd said anything! :P

Anyway, I still have a lot to do tonight (dinner, bedtime, picking up the laundry (that was in the laundromat when he called) from the neighbor, getting a ride from a friend to go get his work truck, driving the beast of a truck). So, I should get going.

Tomorrow morning, at 8:45, I take him to the Orthopedic Surgeon where he'll probably recieve a cast. More coming up!

Suzy :P

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Me and My Fabric Passion

I haven’t had a photo taken of me in a long time. So today, when I received my first WHOLE BOLT of FABRIC, I was so enjoying it, that I had my hubby snap a few shots of me with it.

I know it’s crazy, but I love my fabric and sewing. And this fabric (Michael Miller's AFFIRMATIONS #C-2273), it’s really inspiring… take a look at a swatch of it.

I bought some of it from eQuilter, and when I received it liked it, a lot! Enough to want to put a strip / piece of it on each quilt back I make… for a long time. When I went to order more I discovered it “sold out” everywhere I looked.

So, I did want any fabric-holic would do; I contacted the manufacturer. I was put in touch with a wholesale vendor where, I was able to acquire this great fabric for just $2.55 a yard (wholesale bolt pricing). So, just a few days later, I have my bolt of fabric.

What else? Where did I get this great deal and terrific service? Marshall Dry Goods Company, in business in Arkansas since 1944. Check them out and tell them I sent you!

Suzy :D

PS: You wouldn't BELEIVE the number of boxes of fabric that came out of my little sewing room at my last house! If nothing proves a fabri-holic it's over thirty boxes of quilting and other fabrics!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Life in Wyoming - Vehicles

I’ve been ask several times about my vehicle and when I’m going to get “a better one.” To that I would say “I like the one I have; thank you very much!
Once before I went shopping for my own vehicle, I bought a (then) year old 1993 Chevy S-10 Blazer, which I drove for ten years (during three different marriages – all mine). My Mom told me she knew I was with the right husband when I finally sold my Blazer. :D Now, I have a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan. It is the first vehicle I picked out and got NEW. Just nine miles on it. Now, we just turned over 35,000. I LOVE it!

Never saw myself as driving a mini-van… until the ’05 Grand Caravan came out… sliding doors, on both sides. Rear hatch opens at the touch of a button. Fold-n-Go seats/storage areas. Even options for GPS and a ceiling mounted DVD player (which I didn’t take). And now, I’m REALLY appreciating my heated leather seats!

When I bought it, the dark red color and heated leather seats didn’t make a lot of sense. Two years later, in Wyoming, they make PERFECT sense! In Arizona, you want the lightest color of vehicle possible, because the darker the color, the more of the hot sun is absorbed (and the hotter it gets inside the vehicle). Even knowing about the darker color and heat issue, the dark red just made me smile. I really liked it. So I bought it. In Wyoming, you want a nice medium, well, DIRT color to hide the road grunge, but for safety, a dark, bright color is best. Let me show you an example:

These vehicles were all out my window the other morning… notice how difficult it is to see the snow on the others, but my van just POPS right out at you! That’s a good thing. When you are driving in snowy, low-visibility conditions, having a color you can see helps.

The heated leather seats, well, you’ve been reading my thermometer-related posts of late, you figure it out!

Oh. What’s that? You wonder about Four Wheel Drive or All Wheel Drive? Well, I have Front Wheel Drive… and a shovel. Last week, I did find myself stuck in the parking lot of my storage unit… the incline with three inches of ice and nine inches of snow proved to be too much for James (my boys named our van after The Red Engine in the Thomas and Friends series). So, I used a plastic basket (because I’d neglected to purchase afore mentioned shovel at the store THE DAY BEFORE, so, last week, it was a plastic basket) to dig out nine-inches of snow over about twenty feet. Then, my dear hubby arrived on his white horse… I mean, in his white truck, and was able to just drive James right out. I guess I’m telling you about another story… one my back is still, ten days later, reminding me of… the story of how I learned to check the depth of snow before driving off the highway down a slope. Lesson learned.

Back to the “Drive” of my vehicle. My Aunt (who has lived here for thirty years) drives a 1995 (Red) Dodge Grand Caravan. My Cousin (born and raised here) drives a 2004 (Red) Dodge Grand Caravan. When I go to visit, people have trouble telling who’s headed into the neighborhood, since all three of our vehicles look (are) so similar! So, I feel like I’m in good company with my vehicular choice.

Basically, if the weather is “too bad” we just don’t go out. I’m lucky that way. I stay-at-home with (and am working toward Homeschooling) my two toddler boys. If the weather is bad, we just stay home. And. If we do happen to get stuck, we can always call for (flag down) help.

Now, I know there are a lot of barren roads… which is why my van is stocked with: blankets, extra jackets, emergency military food rations, water, an aluminum cup, and other emergency items. I do still want to go to a local authority and ask what else I should have in my vehicle (like I discovered it was good to have a shovel… didn’t know that before). But, I tell people where I’m going and am very cautious, so, basically, I have confidence in my ability to survive with my two sons.

While I was thinking about how everyone is asking about my van… I was observing local vehicles. Motorcycles… haven’t seen any. Not-A-One! Fuel-Efficiency, Green-Peace, Earth-Lovin’ Vehicles. They just aren’t here. What you DO see are: mid-size cars; ancient old tank-type cars; SUV’s; vans; and trucks. Lots and lots of trucks. It’s not just on the roads, but at the dealerships too.

Here’s the Dodge dealership:

The front of the HUGE Dodge building:

And the Chevy dealership:

And the Ford dealership:

Well… the Ford dealership happens to be right by my apartment, but it’s at a light, at a busy intersection, and I just haven’t seen fit to jump out and take a picture for you. But. I promise you; it’s more of the same. Lots and lots of trucks and, like, NO cars to be seen.

So. There you have it. Trucks and other gas-guzzling vehicles. That’s what you’ll see in Wyoming. Oh yeah, and if you are going to have a truck (and it seems like every household does), then, you are going to have a 4x4 truck… there just aren’t any 2x4’s to be seen.

Got it? Vehicles in Wyoming don’t seem to be “Earth Friendly”, but, they’ll haul you Near and Far through extremely cold temperatures. Besides, we here in Wyoming a good portion of gas and oil for the US is being produced… so, I guess they take it for granted that there’s a supply of the stuff. (You should be near the “GREASERS” at the laundry mat when a load is started with hot water! DEFINITLY another story, but grease and oil, they are in these parts a plenty!)

I think I’ve made my point (and then some). I love my van, James, and now I’m going to finish something I started (watching a movie or writing a pattern, I haven’t decided which).

Suzy :D

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Quilt Pattern Design - A Whole Lotta Math!

I've been working on my pattern today. I'd hoped to have Tom do illustrations this weekend, and perhaps I need to shift gears. I've been spending a lot of time on number crunching.

I worked for an hour this morning in the van and another 45 minutes this evening in Excel... all on calculating the math needed to make one quilt in eight different sizes (Baby, Crib, Throw, Twin, Long Twin, Full, Queen, and King).

I feel like I'm writing a book, not a pattern! So far, my Excel Spreadsheet has 11 rows and I'm up to column AE! Wow!

I like math; I really enjoy math, but right now, my brain is fried! I'm going to go cuddle with Tom and watch a movie we've seen a zillion times (don't know what, I'll just go grab one of the shelf).

I am glad to be plugging away and making progress!

Suzy :D

Life in Wyoming - It's Nice Out

I know I seem to be talking about the weather a lot, but, when you've recently changed from one Extreme Climate to another, the differences feel profound. This is the third time in my life that I've moved from one climate to another very different one. In the past, it's taken me two to three years to acclimate. I expected the same with this move.

Imagine my surprise to hear myself saying "It's such a nice day out" this afternoon. It was 3:30 pm and about 34 degrees Farenheit. Never in my life would I have expected myself to consider 34 degrees "nice", much less that I would be comfortable in it. But, since we've been expereincing below zero temperatures, I suppose this 30-40 degree warmer temperature should feel nice.

What I dread is going back to visit Arizona, in 110+ and baking alive! I am pleasantly suprised at how quickly we are acclimating.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Life in Wyoming - A Beautiful Day

It was somewhere between 15 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday morning as Frank and I stepped out of our apartment building. As we started across the crunchy snow covered lawn, he said "It's a beautiful day! Just listen to the birdies singing!" I thought "I have to remember just what he said so I can blog it"... of course, then, I forgot the third sentence which was something more about how nice a day it was going to be.

It was nice out, just a hint of a breeze... when the wind is blowing (the wind chill factor) it can feel 10, 20, even 30 degrees lower! I've been more comfortable on days when it's 7 or 11, than when it's in the low 20's with a STRONG, FURIOUS wind.

Poor Jack has trouble when the wind is going. He's bundled up and "warm" enough, but he has to hold our hands or he gets blown over. Actually, today, I was getting blown back as I tried to walk sideways into the wind.

It seems to me that if it's going to be windy here, it does it for a whole day. Usually, if it's nice in the morning, then it's nice in the afternoon and evening too. Of course, not always, but, usually.

So, I wanted to tell you about Frank's comment that made me smile, about the Beauty and Birds, and now I've found myself giving you a little more info on our Wyoming Life... truly, I never fully "understood" what "wind-chill factor" was ....... until recently. This is just one of the MANY things that we native-born and raised "Zonies" are learning about the "cold-country".


Friday, January 18, 2008

Quilt Pattern Design - Progress!

I've just spent the past three hours getting my "Window to Heaven" quilt design into Electric Quilt 5 as NINE different size quilts! All the way from Baby to King size! Tom helped me (A LOT) by figuring out I had to do the quilt as a "variable point" in the program. Once he did that, everything started to go smoothly, then, it was just a matter of entering rows and columns and adjusting borders until the top was near a "standard" size. Tomorrow... calculating the yardage needed for all these sizes!

I know. I know! EQ5 will "do the math" for me, BUT, two things: 1) I like doing math, and 2) I just plain don't trust the computer to do it all for me! Besides, I've seen (and heard) about WAY too many patterns that have yardage / math errors... and I'm guessing this may be part of the problem... letting a machine do what our brains were designed for!

Okay, now that I've upset all the non-math-freaks out there, I think I'll go to bed! ;P


CONTEST - What ELSE is it?

Take a look at this picture and tell me what you think we recently used it for…

I’ll tell you what it is NOT! No matter what you may think, it IS NOT a SEAMRIPPER.

First correct answer as to what we used this handy little tool for, will receive a prize -handmade by me! Honestly, I’m not sure what the prize will be because I JUST thought to do this, but it’ll be fun… just like the contest!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

We All Need A Purpose

The past few days have been much smoother for our household. I was thinking about it and I think it has to do with Frank and I both rediscovering a purpose ........ or perhaps we’re just excited about some new activities we’re involved in. I’m excited about the prospect of publishing my quilt / sewing designs and Frank is so revved up about learning to ice skate.

Frank has been offering to help. He’s been eager and willing, listening and doing just what I ask him… not because we’re threatening to “take away” his new-found joy, but just because he’s so joyful about doing it. Me, having my designing at the fore-front of my mind, I’m motivated to get up and do things - quickly. I want to get my “have-to’s” done quickly so I have time to do my “want-to’s”. I also am more relaxed and so having fewer confrontations. I can see something for me to do (besides cook, clean, sleep, etc.)

Also, tonight, I drug the whole family along to a Project Linus, quilt making night at Keama's Quilt Shop. They provide the materials (via their scrap baskets) and we put quilts together. It’s a new program for their shop, and besides employees, there was only one other lady – and our family. Tom cut fabric, while the boys picked pieces to go together. I sewed with each boy on my lap, then, while Frank laid out the quilt top, Jack hopped on another lady’s lap. Here are the boys at the end of the evening, along with our progress.

At the end of the evening, the quilt-shop ladies were giggling about “how long it’s been since they’ve had little ones around”. I know Frank and I enjoyed it, and Tom couldn’t stop talking with the owner’s hubby (not to mention, he fixed their vault door’s broken combo lock – it’s an old bank building), and Jack got snacks and ice cream – so, he was happy. On the way home, they were asking to go back and finish the quilt so a child at the hospital could have it! Yeah! :D

Here are the boys at bedtime tonight. Usually they sleep with one stuffed animal, tonight they wanted ALL of them!

Jack has quite the collection of Ty Buddies growing. I bought the dog the week before he was born, Tom added the elephant (named “E. B. X” by Jack) about a year ago, and Jack just bought himself (with Christmas Money) the Piggy in Pinedale last week.

Frank was hiding behind his pile, but I finally got a peek of his playful, mischievous eyes.

Get a load of the great hand-embroidered, hand-crocheted, vintage pillowcases I picked up (behind Frank). Yep. I got three of them for FORTY CENTS! SCREAMIN’ DEAL!!! You GOTTA.LOVE small-town thrift shops!

Anyway, good days recently (excepting “The Bathroom Incident” yesterday) and I think it’s because we are excited about life.


RIDDLE: When do you know you live in a REALLY SMALL TOWN?

When you go to BOTH fast-food places at 10:30 pm and find them closed!


Quilt Pattern Design - New Sources Found

Yesterday I found a new source for my journey of designing and marketing my own quilting patterns!

I've been bottlenecked at the point of having someone test my first pattern. I know that I need someone else to read and work through it before I publish it, but I didn't know where find that person. Yesterday I found a new resource and so much more! The owner of a local shop is going to supply the material (which will then be her shop sample) and also going to offer my pattern(s) for sale! I had trouble sleep last night for thinking about it. I am SO EXCITED!!!

Now, I have to pull out my notes and drawings, do some new calculations for other size quilts, and make the computer illustrations. Then, it will be ready to send off. Yeah!

Here's a link about the pattern I'm planning to polish off.

Suzy :D

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I’m GRATEFUL for a Teeny-Tiny-Trip-Over-Yourself Bathroom!

This morning, I am, for the first time, grateful for the total of forty square feet of bathroom that we have in our apartment.

Here is the cast of characters that cause me to be SO VERY GRATEFUL:

1 – A pile of freshly, cleaned toys.

2 – Reason toys needed to be cleaned, "Encouraged" Son, Jack.

3 – Hubby with a very Sensitive Stomach.

4 – The culprits causing said Sensitive Stomach.

5 – Kitty-Kat Toilet-Training in Progress.

6 – Cell Phone

7 - "Helpful" Son, Frank.

Hmm… how to tell the story. Perhaps, at the beginning… no, that’s too far back. Well, here’s what’s buggin’ me and why I have to be grateful…

I’m feeling a bit tired these past few days. Mostly because I’ve been staying up surfing and blogging online instead of going to bed on time; also, Jack has been getting up about an hour early each day. The result, I’m 1-2 hours short on sleep for several days in a row. Now, if you don’t know this about me, let me explain that I NEED a good eight hours of sleep, EVERYNIGHT. I very quickly deteriorate when I don’t have enough. I know this. It’s always been this way for me. So, today I’d planned to have an “offline” day. I explained what I mean about being Offline last night to a friend; here’s an excerpt from the email:

… that's a thing I do when I feel like I'm not getting "enough" done... just turn off my phone and computer. Then, I have some personal and family "down-time". Offline is just my term for it and I think I may do it tomorrow…

That was my plan for today, and it actually was working out okay. Jack got up early (with a wet bed) which I took care of and somehow managed to get him BACK IN BED. Then, he and Frank did something quite out of the ordinary… they got up, got dressed, and played together in their room. Usually, the boys come in and cuddle in our bed for a good thirty minutes. Like, every morning. They come in. We enjoy this time together and value it highly, but today, I was very grateful to get some extra rest. I was grateful even when my hubby got a phone call (just before eight).

The phone call was UPS calling to say they’d found a lost package… lost since NOVEMBER! He took down some info and things were looking up. Wait a minute… I forgot to tell you something that you’ll need to know.

Yesterday, during “quiet time” (after lunch, when “nap time” use to be in our routines), Frank and Jack were playing in their room. Quite nicely. Quietly. Too nicely. Too quiet. For Christmas Frank (5yo) received a Crayola Art box… you know, every kind of mess-making tool a kid can handle… okay, maybe not every kind of mess-making tool, but full of crayons, paints, colored pencils, glue, and markers. Not a lot of markers, but enough. Eight to be exact. Against my better judgment Frank convinced me that he could keep the box in his room, on his bookshelf, and keep Jack (almost 3yo) out of it.

My instincts proved correct. I don’t think Frank had to keep Jack out of it. I think Frank probably handed Jack each and every marker. Jack COVERED his train tracks and cars with marker. Eventually Frank came running out to tattle. When I went in, all eight markers were opened and scattered around the floor. You saw the pile of toys. Luckily, they were “washable” markers and basically the water cleaned the toys right off. Instead of allowing another spectacle with them cleaning in a sink, I put the toys and the boys in the tub with a bit of water and had them clean everything off. Then, they got right out of the tub and into bed. Anyway, this morning, the toys were still in the tub. We’d left them there to dry for the night.

Another thing. Do you remember me telling you I am potty-training my cats? Well, it’s still in the process of happening, and we are still using the litter pan that sits over the toilet bowl.

What else do you need to know? I guess just that my hubby has a VERY sensitive stomach. He abused it, badly, for over a decade, probably closer to two decades with close, daily, excessive association with HIS friend Jack, as in, “Jack Daniels and Coca-Cola”. Now, many years later, he wakes in the morning and if he has phlegm, he finds a few sips of Coke (something about the carbonation and cola syrup) ease his stomach’s gurgles. Jack he can handle in small, occasional doses.

Okay, I think that fills you in on all the components of our story. Now, for the events this morning which have led me to break my Anti-Technology-Fast and sit down for some therapeutic writing and story-telling.

I’ve slept in for an hour when Tom gets a call. It’s UPS, with a part (for work) lost for over three months. Yeah! Tom jumps out of bed to jot down some details about the location of the package. Tom spends a few minutes in conversation, before I hear a hurried “thanks, good bye!” followed immediately by the sounds of Tom moving the cat toilet training and heaving. Yes; as in throwing up. The Sensitive Stomach and Phlegm Combo strike again.

I know what’s going on and although I feel bad for Tom, I’m not worried about it. Frank was in my room (I’m still waking up in bed) and I ask him to “run and get Daddy a soda out of the kitchen, then sit it on the bathroom sink.” Frank did what I ask, to the letter, including the “run” part. When Tom opened the soda; well, when it was finished exploding there was literally only three ounces of soda left in the can. The other nine ounces were all over our bathroom AND Tom’s work cell phone.

You remember; Tom ran into the bathroom just as he ended his conversation? Apparently, he took the phone in there with him, and when he opened the soda. Well. Let’s just say that he’s already been to the local Verizon dealer (only to find that he’ll either have to drive three hours to Salt Lake City OR wait for the mail in order to get a replacement). Electronics don’t like moisture. They especially don’t like sticky, wet, stuff in them.

Oh yeah, you should know that Verizon now offers this great service, Backup Assistant. It’s an automated daily backup of your address book to a database which you can manage online. They do this in case you loose or break your phone. I use this service. I’ve told Tom about this service. Apparently, Tom doesn’t use this service. So, Tom now has to acquire a new phone and find a way to replace all his work phone numbers that he ONLY had in his cell phone.

In the meantime, instead of using his old personal phone, Tom decided to use my phone to place nine work calls. I heard him give his number to only one person, the other eight callers now have my number… I’m expecting any number of work related calls today.

You may wonder, why didn’t Tom use his precious RAZR phone? Oh, well, in all our moves, he’s misplaced the power cords and, as it turns out, the battery was worn-out (+$25 to today’s expenses).

Tom wiped up what soda he could, but, his stomach is still upset from his recent vomit session. As you know, sticky things like soda or juice seldom wipe up in the fist pass. You have to go at them repeatedly.

So much for my “easy, restful day.” Looks like I’m going to be scrubbing the bathroom down. Yep. Lots of cleaning to do. Okay, I’ll do it in a minute…

During that “minute” when Tom walked out and I wasn’t quite in the bathroom, Frank went in to retrieve his toys (the ones he’d cleaned the night before). In his hurry to hurl, Tom, instead of putting the litter tray safely on the floor, just balanced the tray on the edge of the tub.

Yes. You are smart. You know what’s coming here. We’ve already got vomit and soda to clean up, let’s just add some used cat litter to the combo, shall we? Yes. Thanks to Tom and Frank, we shall. And for kicks, let’s pour that nasty cat litter all over the many train toys we’ve just finished cleaning. Okay. Let’s. And they did.

Tom tells me “that everyone (he’s) told the story to says you can’t write stuff this funny.” I would submit that it may be funny to watch, but you don’t have to smell it on a screen, and you aren’t the one cleaning it up.

How is it that my restful day turned into a Clean-the-Bathroom-from-Top-to-Bottom Session? Oh yeah, and all the toys, yep, they were what was covered with the cat litter, so, clean them up again.

And THAT is why I’m grateful for a Teeny-Tiny-Trip-Over-Yourself Forty Square Feet of Bathroom!

Because, if it was any bigger, my hour-long cleaning might have taken the whole morning – instead I’ve spent the morning telling you all about it. Aren’t you lucky?

Ugh! I had a yucky morning! After all this, my right (bad) ear starting ringing so loud (tinnitus) that I literally couldn’t hear Frank talking when he was standing right next to me. I decided that writing would ease things for me. Perhaps the story would even seem funny to me once I read it.

Maybe. I do feel calmer now. Sorry if I’ve bored you, but, if this was Tom says, a truly hilarious cacophony of events, then you’ll be rolling about now. Either way, thanks for letting me “type it out”.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Life in Wyoming - Slower Housing Boom

As we're settling into life in Wyoming, our friends and family from afar often ask "what's it like". In an effort to educate, here's a little bit about it.

It's hard to describe the amount of Nothingness we encounter in Wyoming. So, I'd best start showing you just how little there is out here!

Life in Wyoming is slower and more laid-back than in Phoenix, and, oh yeah! It's colder too! Driving two hours to get somewhere is nothing here... everything's at least 100 miles away! It's one small country town with really long roads in between.

Our house sale fell through in June, we got another offer in October and closed the week of Thanksgiving. Over the course of the summer, we lost $66,000 (between the offer that fell through and the one that closed). So. That was all our profit and I'm still having a hard time letting go of that. Probably because we're still looking for a new home to purchase. Loosing our profit means we're back to looking for a "starter" home in a market that's now booming (thanks to hundreds of new oil well rights opening up in this area). So, when we researched coming up here, the cost of living was lower... not so now. We took a substantial paycut (for the slower way of life) but have been delt a trick hand in loosing our profit and landing in a boom-town. Tom keeps telling me it's all for a reason, but, whenever I think about finding a new home, let's just say I don't think / feel good thoughts / feelings.

The housing situation makes life sound bad... anything but. I'm making new friends for me and the boys. I take them to gymnastics twice a week and tonight Frank's going to his first ice skating lesson. We get out, but we're at home and calm so much more than before. I get a lot more sewing / cooking / crafting done these days (having an apartment with 1/3 the square footage of our last home to clean helps, as does the lack of yard maintenance!) We spend more time together, playing, reading, doing games / puzzles / etc.

Tom is in far less pain (his back was always hurting and now it hardly ever does) and my nervous / stress conditions are practically gone (expect for when I look into buying a home). So, we think those are good things.

The worst of it is that we miss people in Arizona. We had a large circle of friends and several dearly loved family members... of course now we see other family members regurally (they are 114 miles away, we see them about once a month). I doubt we'll ever stop feeling sad about leaving our loved ones behind. Sometimes, you just have to make TOUGH, HARD choices and there simply is no "right" or "easy" answer. I think this choice, to move out of the city, away from our home, was one of those choices.

There now, curiosity satiated? If not, check back
for ongoing insights into our Wyoming life! (I'm actually working on a post that will include lots of trivia about our new home.)

I took the pictures last week while we were driving 98 miles to Pinedale. The roads were covered in, no, the road was ICE. Now, while it's true that you can easily slide on this road ice, don't fool yourself into thinking it's a smooth ride. Go back and look at those pictures... the ice is uneven and rough. It's kind-of like driving down a packed dirt road at 40 miles an hour - for TWO HOURS!
While driving to Pinedale, we actually saw -20F at around 10am last Monday. We were just North of Farson at the time.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Fundraising through January 20th

A friend of mine stumbled upon a tragic story on ebay. A tragic story with a group of loved ones banding together to support the survivors. Please read and share this info with others... perhaps we can help to ease their suffering a little as they take time to process their grievous loss.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Much to my dismay, I found myself creating a MySpace account yesterday. My brother, sister, and mother have been on for a while, and I've been able to see them without an account. But this year my sister is posting one picture per day... and if I want to see them (which I do) I had to create an account.

I'm not sure why I'm leary of
MySpace, I just seem to hear more negative than good about it. I'm quite happy here at Blogger, making my blog and reading my friends blogspots.

Oh well, I'm there, and I've tried to make my account as "private" as possible. We'll see how it goes. Luckily, the "Delete Account" option is prominient in the Settings section.

Does anyone have anything positive / encouraging to offer about MySpace?


Crossroads Trips

My Aunt (Lou Chebowski) and I fell in love with the cover quilt (the pattern is Arkansas Crossroads) on the book "Quilts from the Heart - Quick Projects for Generous Giving" by Karin Renaud.

Since I sent her the book earlier this year, my Aunt has made at least four of these quilts, including this one that she surprised me with on my visit last October.

It's called "The Road (Back) to Arizona". Most of the fabrics I bought for or with my Aunt. Here’s a close up of the front as well as a piece of the backing:

Since I like this quilt so much, I've been cutting down my scraps into squares and "corner pieces". While working on other projects, I've been sewing my 1 1/2" scraps as leader/enders. Look at all the “corner pieces” you can cut out of odd shapes of scraps:

I've made quite a few of the Four-Patch Units and now I wanting to start sewing some of the Bright Corner Square units, so, I need to decide on a background. That's one thing that seems to help this scrap quilt a lot... a consistent background. I was going to try a muslin or white,

but saw these other two and liked them.

What do you think? White / Muslin / Dusty Blue / Bright Blue Starbursts?

Let me know.